Concerns about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine could potentially affect people’s decision in receiving the vaccine.
AstraZeneca, developed in the United Kingdom, has come under increasing scrutiny as side effects, including blood clots particularly involving younger women, have been reported. Recently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration jointly urged a pause in the use of Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen vaccine for a similar reason.
Reuters reported April 2 the Netherlands temporarily halted the use of the vaccine for people under 60 following the death of a woman last month.
“The fears that are apparent with the recent blood clotting issues are resulting in their decision making,” said Nadine Young, a nurse at William Osler Hospital said. “Some people tend to want to make a decision to wait for further testing to be done or more conclusive testing.”
Theresa Tam, the Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, said several European countries reported patients suffering vaccine-induced pro-thrombotic immune thrombocytopenia, or VIPIT.
They are blood clots that can occur four to 20 days after inoculation. The rate of VIPIT appears to be between one in 125,000 and one in one million, and there has been one case of VIPIT reported, in Quebec.
Tam said more data over time could “change the risk-benefit assessment.”
The American call for the pause in using the Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine is based on similar incidents.
Despite the low rates of blood clots, and the AstraZeneca vaccine available to those over the age of 55, people are worried that other vaccines could be harmful.
“I just think it’s scary to see what one vaccine could possibly do to someone,” said Jessica Singh, a Sheridan College business administrative health care services student.
“I just don’t want to risk my life by getting any serious conditions that could harm me, even if it has been tested and cleared to give out to people,” she said.
Medical professionals over the age of 55 want to be sure of their decision to receive AstraZeneca as updates on the vaccine become available.
“Within the medical field, there seems to be confusion. Every day there are new updates that further add to it,” Young said.
The Canadian government is working to make vaccines available for all Canadians in the coming months.
“We begin our ramp-up phase throughout April and May. A million doses a week are scheduled to arrive from Pfizer alone,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a press conference on March 30.
Trudeau also said Pfizer will be moving five million doses this summer, bringing Canada’s total of vaccines to 9.6 million from 4.6 million, and will continue for more dosages this year.